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Removing a Rusty Citroen Fastener Without Breaking it Off

This was a question that recently was sent in to me, and I covered it a bit in the article that I wrote about removing the Citroen D Model fuel tank, but I will go into greater depth here. What I will be explaining here is the removal of a fastener from your vintage Citroen . Most of these fasteners will be 25 plus years old, and you are perhaps removing them for the first time since the Citroen was new.

Depending on the location and the vintage, and of course where a fastener has spent it’s life, can have a great deal to do with how difficult it might be to remove when you want to take it apart. When I say location, I mean if the fastener is located under the dash of your Citroen or holding the front bumper on will make a great deal of difference as to how you want to approach removal.

If the Citroen was ever run in the winter on salty streets, or for that matter lived in the  humid eastern part of the U.S. or the drier western part will also make a huge difference. If the fastener is located inside the Citroen interior and did not see any corrosive damage, it should be relatively easy to remove. But, if it spent it’s life on the outside, or even worse if it spent it’s life in a location such as the exhaust system of your Citroen where there is a constant change in temperature as the system heats up and then cools off, then you might be in for a challenge.

Several things can be done to help in the removal of a stubborn Citroen fastener and here they are:

  1. Shock: This is something that may not appear at first to be helpful, but can add up in the end. What you want to do is find a way, if possible and space permits,to give a couple of good solid blows with a punch or drift to the end of the fastener head. Be careful to not slip off and mess up or deform it and make it so a wrench or socket will not fit on it. I personally find that this is a very good practice to do when removing Citroen engine head bolts, especially when you have two dissimilar metals at work.
  2. Heat: Another way you might want to try if you have a small flame torch and that is to heat up the fastener. This is especially useful when you are trying to remove, and have good access to, a nut that you want to remove. Heat up the Citroen fastener until it is glowing hot. Try to just heat up the nut as much as possible and not the bolt. Once it is glowing be careful not to burn yourself and get a nice (preferably 6 point) socket or box end wrench on the nut. Now, see if it will loosen up at this point. Here is where you really have to use your judgement and take things easy because if you meet any resistance you want to back off and reheat the nut. If I get any movement from the fastener at this point I usually back off and turn it back towards tightning the fastener .
  3. Penetrant: Spray a good quality penetrant on the threats and start to work the fastener back and forth tightening and loosening.  With each tightening and loosening you make a little more progress towards removal. This will sort of make the fastener act like a tap or die depending on whether it is a nut or bolt. The fastener will slowly work it’s way through the rust and as you continue to spray penetrant on, things will hopefully wash the threats out, lubricate them and make things easier to remove. The main thing I want to stress here is take it easy. If you meet any resistance stop and think about the problems and time you will waste if you snap that puppy off and have to try to extract the remains of the fastener by the use of a bolt remover, or worse yet have to drill things out. Sometimes that will just happen and you will have no choice but try things easy first to avoid that if possible.
  4. Lubricate: When you do get things apart, using products like Never Seez to coat the threads of the Citroen fastener when you replace it will prevent the fastener from being frozen and difficult to remove next time.

Put your comments in the box below,  because I am always open to new ideas for Citroen fastener removal that I have maybe never tried before.

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